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The Buried Giant

by Kazuo Ishiguro

Knopf Canada

buried giant.jpg

All too rarely a novel comes along that leaves you at a loss for words; that leaves you, once the last page has been turned, staring into space.

Kazuo Ishiguro already has a reputation as a writer of exceptional qualities. His novels are models of elegant simplicity. He takes matters of great import, and delicately and assuredly brings them into the realm of the personal. He is the consummate artist of the light touch.

This is his crowning achievement.

The Buried Giant is as meaningful and as profoundly touching a novel as you could ever hope to encounter, wrapped in a deceptively straightforward and simple tale of two old people and their journey. It will be a very difficult novel to review, if only for the intense personal impact it will have on those who read it, but also for the disparate illuminations and enduring wisdom packed into it.

In post-Arthurian England, an elderly couple leave their village to visit their son. They seem confused occasionally, as elderly people can sometimes be, but it so happens that there is a mist of sorts upon the land that obscures memory. Their journey takes some unexpected turns, and rather a long time. They struggle with their own past when the mist thins. They encounter others, some as confused as themselves, others not. They meet a knight and his horse, a Saxon interloper, a dragon, and a boatman. As in many great stories, what they find is not what they sought.

I could go on here almost indefinitely listing what you might take away from this book. Instead I urge you to read it. It will stay with you for a long time.